Xtreme Bugs at Union Station

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Xtreme Bugs at Union Station

Brandon Fagen, Reporter

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I walked through a doorway into a large dimly lit room; the scene in front of me looked like it was right out of “Lord of the Rings”. A huge spider at least twice my size stood in front of me; if it had been real it would have eaten me as a snack.

The Golden Orb Weaver Spider is an arachnid native to the Americas and is famous for its silk. The silk is golden, that’s where the spider gets its name, but it is also stronger than steel.  The webs spun by this spider’s silk are strong enough to catch prey as large as hummingbirds.

The Golden Orb Weaver spider is one of the many exotic exhibits at the Xtreme Bugs exhibition currently housed at Union Station. This traveling exhibition came to union station Oct. 17, 2014 and is scheduled to leave April 12. It features large scale models of insects and other arthropods.  Arthropods are all animals with a segmented body, more specifically insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods (don’t worry, I don’t know what those are either). Next to every animatronic bug are interesting facts about the creature on display.

Overall, the exhibition was more interesting than I had predicted. The huge insects themselves were not that impressive, but could give someone a good idea of what it would be like to see one up close. The information they presented was great though.

Along with interesting stuff like this there were also many interactive activities for younger children.  At the beginning of the exhibit was a station with lollipops and scavenger hunts. There was also a digging pit and some iPad activities. These activities may have been focused on little kids, although I did spot some adults doing the scavenger hunt. Overall the children’s activities did not get in the way of the exhibits themselves, which were much more mature.

The exhibits contained a variety of colors like green and red and larger than life plants and other forest floor objects. These made the animatronic insects look like they were in their natural environment. 

My favorite exhibit other than the Golden Orb Weaver spider would probably be the Chinese Earth Tiger. This tarantula, similar to the Orb Weaver Spider, can catch birds in its nests. It received its name because of the tiger stripes decorating its body. One of its nicknames is the bird spider because of its unusual hunting habits.

Another interesting fact I learned was about ladybugs; apparently they are actually migratory animals just like monarch butterflies. Every winter thousands of ladybugs fly back to their birthplace in California to hibernate through the winter.

There are many more interesting facts like these waiting for you at the Xtreme Bugs exhibition. If you are like me and are interested in science and insects then I recommend you take a look.  It doesn’t take long, only an hour or so. It is also a great family activity. If you have younger siblings and are looking for something the whole family can do, this would be my suggestion.

For more information about this exhibit, visit this website.